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PLoS One. 2011 May 11;6(5):e18951. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018951.

Differential evolvability along lines of least resistance of upper and lower molars in island house mice.

Author information

1
Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, Université Lyon 1, CNRS, Villeurbanne, France. Sabrina.Renaud@univ-lyon1.fr

Abstract

Variation within a population is a key feature in evolution, because it can increase or impede response to selection, depending on whether or not the intrapopulational variance is correlated to the change under selection. Hence, main directions of genetic variance have been proposed to constitute "lines of least resistance to evolution" along which evolution would be facilitated. Yet, the screening of selection occurs at the phenotypic level, and the phenotypic variance is not only the product of the underlying genetic variance, but also of developmental processes. It is thus a key issue for interpreting short and long term evolutionary patterns to identify whether main directions of phenotypic variance indeed constitute direction of facilitated evolution, and whether this is favored by developmental processes preferably generating certain phenotypes. We tackled these questions by a morphometric quantification of the directions of variance, compared to the direction of evolution of the first upper and lower molars of wild continental and insular house mice. The main phenotypic variance indeed appeared as channeling evolution between populations. The upper molar emerged as highly evolvable, because a strong allometric component contributed to its variance. This allometric relationship drove a repeated but independent evolution of a peculiar upper molar shape whenever size increased. This repeated evolution, together with knowledge about the molar development, suggest that the main direction of phenotypic variance correspond here to a "line of least developmental resistance" along which evolution between population is channeled.

PMID:
21589657
PMCID:
PMC3092747
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0018951
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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